Chanel is kicking off 2019 with the acquisition of a 20% stake in Switzerland-based movement manufacturer Kenissi Manufacture. The news came as the company published its earnings for the first time in its more than 100 year history. Chanel provided few details about its plans but the move clearly suggests that it is looking to strengthen its luxury watchmaking business and perhaps expand into more mainstream markets.
Currently based in Geneva, Kenissi is expected to move to new facilities in Le Locle in 2021. It will share the space, two interconnected buildings, with Tudor which is part of the Rolex Group. Little is known about Kenissi’s founder. According to Le Temps, the owner is a “very discrete” industrial supplier of sapphire glass to a number of watchmakers.
Chanel first began to invest in Swiss watchmaking back in 1993 when it purchased the G&F Châtelain Manufacture. Since then, it has acquired stakes in a number of other watch brands, including Bell & Ross, Romain Gauthier and, most recently, a 20% minority stake in F.P. Journe.
Chanel will unveil a brand new watch that uses a Kenissi Manufacture automatic movement at Baselworld 2019. Few details have been provided so far but Chanel promises it will be a “brand new creation equipped with an automatic movement created by the Kenisssi Manufacture.”